April 9, 2003 Tifton-For most of us, Christmas is gone, but not here in the Hubbell home in Tifton. Darren Jr. and Marina Hubbell are waiting on their dad.
"I know he may have missed Christmas, but he won't miss the Christmas tree," Marina said. "He'll get 'em. Don't worry."
Darren Hubbell is a medic with the third infantry, probably already in Baghdad. He was deployed from Fort Stewart in September. His family doens't know when he'll return, they just know he will.
"He took care of himself then, he can probably take care of himself now," Darrin Jr. said.
His ex-wife Pam and Darren Jr. have been through this before. Darren is a Gulf War veteran. The Christmas tree stayed up that year too.
"I vaguely remember, because I was pretty young," he said. "But I do remember seeing my mom cry a lot."
Darren re-enlisted more than two years ago.
"Civilian life didn't suit him as well so he decided to get back in," Pam said.
Although happy to be back in the army, Darren wasn't looking forward to facing war once again.
"War, I guess, does things to you and your heart, and it hurts," she said. "So just going back into it, he wasn't looking forward to what he had to see again.
And this time, there's a major difference. His children can watch the war, as if from the front lines, all from their den television.
"I've always been fascinated with military stuff," Darrin Jr. said. "I wish I was in it right now." If there is a next time, his wish may come true.
He's planning to enlist in the army after high school graduation.
As for Marina, she's still too young for this reality show to hold her attention. So she's staying focused on what she likes.
"We'll, usually I only watch cartoon shows like Cyberchase of Dragon tails. I'm not into Clifford or Teletubbies," she said.
So when the war is over, Darren can come home to Christmas cards he's never read, ornaments he didn't see hung and even some unopened gifts. Pam, Darren Jr. and Marina will be waiting.
posted at 11: 55 p.m. April 9 by firstname.lastname@example.org
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